With little hands clenching the iron grill
And head sticking out through the narrow opening;
He would look down from the second floor
At the tapered lane which lay right before his door.
When a prominent image would appear across the bend.
It grew taller and bigger as it neared his residence.
A smile would take a sneak peek over his lips;
As he looked keenly towards the road’s end.
Neatly groomed hair, tied into a bun and sprinkled with grays.
Draped in a cotton saree with prints of vivid asters.
She wore black slippers with frayed heels at the edges.
And a big, cream leather bag swung to and fro from her right shoulder.
The leather bag was Puttu’s bottomless treasure chest.
A Pandora’s Box with more than just hope hidden in it.
More valuable than gold, myrrh or frankincense.
A gift without a gift wrap; that packed in it everything and anything
A metal zipper held the bag’s big belly together.
And an adjustable strap let it cling onto his dear Ammamma’s shoulder.
It had a secret pouch without a password hidden in the center.
And two mid-sized sections, on either side, with velcro flappers.
When pulled open he could almost put his half-self into it.
It gave away the fragrance of peanuts, cold cream and talcum powder.
With it came a few hair clips and safety pins as standard;
Along with a ball pen, a bank passbook and a pair of bifocal spectacles.
For packs of gems, jellybeans, coconut burfi or chikkies;
The bag was a guest house, where they hung out in any season.
And in summer, even without a thermostat, it was an igloo
For Gold Spot, Torino or ice candies till it reached the refrigerator.
With no tricks but only treats was his Ammamma’s leather bag,
Which could even make a Magician inferior of his skill and knack.
Puttu might not have pulled a rabbit out off this aka magical hat;
But even without saying abracadabra, what he wished is what he got.
That day in particular there was nothing special.
Ammamma entered his house and Puttu ran towards her.
He helped her take the big bag of cheer off her shoulder.
And set in on the the nearby teapoy.
With elbows on the wooden plane and palms under his chin,
He sat before it on the diwan with his gazes fixed.
Surprisingly, without opening the bag, he stared,
He contemplated, and he looked up and said...
"Oh Ammamma! How I hope one day
I could also do so much with my school bag.
For now, it only carries loads and loads of books and books.
But I pray it will grow up to become a bag like yours someday."